A lot of us have a sense of things falling apart. This is both real and crazy. Neoneocon puzzled me yesterday by having a “the center cannot hold” post, all lamenting that America as she was is gone. She’s both wrong and right, and from the morose tone more wrong than right.
On a little thought I came to understand it. A lot of us have a sense things are falling apart, and we’re right, they are. But it doesn’t follow the falling apart is bad. Or that what emerges will not be American. Stop staring at me. I haven’t lost my mind.
Look, a lot of us are ah “Mid century modern.” We were born from the early fifties to the late sixties.” Ignoring boomers and such (I was never a boomer, but Obama born a year before me is an echo-boomer. It’s all in who your parents are.) there was both an aestheic and a feel to the mid century.
A lot of you think of it as a golden age, but I’d like to suggest to you that this is because you were children and most of your idea of what that time was, now, rests in the left attempting to depict it as “an evil right wing time.” It wasn’t. Things were already falling apart, they were just hidden. And the things that weren’t falling apart were things that were inherently anti-American, or at best un-American.
It painted itself as a golden age, and it was a prosperous age for America, particularly, on account of us being the only ones standing in the post WWII devastation. (However, in terms of creature comforts, we have a lot more now. And yeah, we have more living space, our houses are more functional, etc. etc. We’re also more free. More on that later.)
But the ideas we had in childhood… well… Things would get incrementally better, and we were going to the moon. And we’d have space colonies. And– and– and–
A lot of them didn’t come to pass, but things did get better, despite our news and academia ramping up the whining, cringing and screaming. And our government being revealed as more and more incompetent, and at times (the seventies, now) conducting a cold war on the people.
So …. this is hard to explain. I have a friend who in the depths of the Obomination told me that the start we had on the space program was all wrong. We basically borrowed the German space program, and sure, it took us to the moon, but it was centralized, and regimented, and government-led, and therefore ALL WRONG for America.
I’ll point out he’s right, and that at the time everyone thought that it had to be all those things: Centralized, regimented and government-led.
Because the fifties, sixties, and heck up through the early eighties, since mass communication was mass communication, the government and big corporations projected an image of flawless competence, and of being able to do a lot more with centralization and standardization.
To an extent this was correct because of the …. technology of the era. News were centralized because it was easier and more economic to have news agencies from which every newspaper pulled; it was easier to print millions of newspapers all over, with the same, unexamined, news going everywhere. And it was easier and cheaper to make one kind of shoes in a factory somewhere, than three thousand different pairs of shoes in little factories all over.
This is what led the Soviets and other sh*theads to believe that command, absolutely centralized economies were best. Those floundered on information issues, but to an extent all the economies and politics of the mid-century had information problems. The US was JUST chaotic enough that they weren’t as bad as in the USSR, but they were there. And the media sold stories that weren’t so, hence “FDR saved us from the Great Depression” making it to the history books. Or our wretched intelligence agencies being considered efficient, while they were buying bullsh*t from the Russians wholesale. (A lot of their missile capacity was just trucks driving long tubes across the country. One wonders if the CIA was that inefficient or already corrupted. I mean, we do know McCarthy’s biggest sin was being already MUCH too late.) I remember sitting with my host brother in a living room in Ohio in 1980 and speculating that the CIA and the FBI probably knew things about us we didn’t know. For you kids, yes, we used to think they were that efficient. Which is easy to believe, when the information you get is controlled by a few news agencies, most of them fully into the centralized government idea. We were in fact lunatics. Even if they could collect all that information, they could never have processed.
I confess I too bought the idea of the golden fifties, for a while, until I started reading stuff written by people of the time, from the autobiographies of unimportant people (Your library probably has a ton. People publish grandma’s biography and give a copy to the library. Look under local) to collected letters. What emerged was the image of a country trying very badly to sovietize.
There is a reason for that. The edifice of government we live and have lived with for almost a hundred years was made and put in place by FDR who was a great admirer of the Soviet Union. Which is why he cast in on their side in WWII. (He also personally disliked Germans. Otherwise he might have gone the other way, yes.)
There were precursors, of course. And remember ACW is a forbidden topic, but yes, Lincoln set in motion the primacy of the Federal government. I do understand why — spare us his necessities — but yes, it was a corruption of the American system. Then Woodrow Wilson in World War I did some rather horrendous things with propaganda and centralization. And then FDR. Well… FDR.
In his defense, every politician of the era, including nominal republicans thought that we needed “progress” defined as center-out top-down systems for everything. In FDR though, it notched into a type of personality that made the whole thing insanely expansive, authoritarian and yes, toxic. (It wasn’t wrong for Obama to compare himself to FDR.)
In his not defense, if that’s what he wanted, he should have moved to Europe where they were already largely like that. This system was anti-American enough that it never fully “took” here, the way it did in Europe.
Yeah, it corrupted almost everything including government, education and manufacturing. But it didn’t reach all the way down. Americans stayed armed. Americans stayed religious in numbers that dwarf Europe (And please, do not bleat. Yes, a ton of people these days don’t identify as belonging to any organized religion. Are you kidding? This surprises you after 2020? I despise myself a little that I still do belong to an organized religion, but in our case, we’re very old, and we’ve had worse happen to our organization.) AND more importantly, Americans stayed individualistic by and large. And no, you can’t imagine how much unless you can compare them to Europeans, who on average are less do-for-yourself than your average welfare case in the US. (Remember how Obama hates that in use. He too has seen other countries.) Americans stayed patriotic, instead of embracing the “citizen of the world” mentality. (Except for the over-educated and stupid.) This too isn’t true in Europe.
The problem — from the left’s point of view — is that in the last twenty years, and definitely in the last two, the system has proven not to work.
Some of us always knew it, of course. BUT most people until the last two years or so, still thought that “top down, center out, authorities know best” was a flawless and efficient system. Most still thought “US Intelligence Services” wasn’t an oxymoron.
Some of us, making us of the leaks around the edges, the blogs, the other means of information, already had a sense that none of that was working. Except even we might have overestimated them.
But the last two years more or less rubbed everyone’s face in it. These systems aren’t working. They’re falling apart. Russia and China, pointed at as successes of centralization and top down are in fact florid disasters, and would probably have collapsed long ago if we didn’t support them in various ways, mostly with food, and by buying an endless wash of shoddy products (in China’s case.) Oh, and also by treating them as peers, with non-laughable currencies.
It’s like the image in Terry Pratchett where you have the beautiful golden throne, but it’s in fact rotten wood covered in gold leaf.
Neither their nor our centralization has produced anything but bad information, a ton of weird plots, an immense amount of waste, and a lot of human suffering. It’s entirely possible that the US Federal government is not good at much of anything but extracting money from its citizens and making it hard to do business. Oh, they could be good at guarding the borders, but they seem to not be interested in that. Possibly because it’s a function specified in the Constitution.
Someone said that centralization inevitably leads to fascism. They’re not wrong. A powerful centralized government eventually controls education, which leads to control of industry and news. Which leads to fascism. Or crony capitalism. They’re the same, though possibly different phases.
Part of what annoys our left is that they think they were so close to imposing this on us.
The truth of course, is they never were. It was just vitiated information, which is a side effect of centralization, making it appear like that.
But the devil is in the details, and in the details they never had us.
America is a spirit of hunching your shoulder and telling your “masters” to go p*ss up a rope. And THAT spirit is still very much alive, which is why in 2020 in the face of the most determined gaslighting and panic porn and for the love of heaven mass house arrests, all designed to demonize Trump and make us vote for the potted plant, we hunched our shoulders and voted for Trump in such numbers that they had to fraud at the last minute, in quantity enough to be visible.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, combined with how their cunning plans keep falling apart, has had the left in a panic ever since.
Yes, things are falling apart. Most of what’s falling apart, though, is the house that FDR built, an un-American, where it wasn’t outright anti-American, structure, which couldn’t long stand in the land of the Free. It already stood too long. And yes, it needs to come down.
Fortunately the Constitution which was perfect for an agrarian people is equally suited to a chaotic, decentralized post-mass-industrialization people.
Our Constitution is supposed to herd together the individualist cats JUST enough to make them live in peace and generate prosperity. And to that it is supremely well suited. We just need to get rid of all the cr*p our law system has accreted through the mass-industrial age and get back to the Constitution.
Honestly, since the collapse of centralized anything is worldwide, it might only be us standing in the end, with both the disposition and the laws to make the new age work. Which would be…. about normal.
Yes, everything is falling apart. But it’s not OUR THINGS. It’s not America. It’s the nonsense built on top of us, while lulling us with false information.
The collapse is inevitable, as is the rebuilding. And we have a better than even chance of making the future more American than ever.
So, be not afraid. Put your shoulder to the wheel and push.
All this smoke just means the American Phoenix is about to be re-born.